FairvoteMN.org wants you to believe that ranking candidates is as easy as 1,2,3 and you're done! They also tell you that you get more choices. Are more choices less confusing? See for yourself. In the Minneapolis 2013 election above, there were 35 candidates from which to rank. Would you have a good idea of what each of them stand for to make some good choices?
On their website, FairvoteMN says that Plurality (Primary) voting is basically skewed to a 2 party system; that RCV "opens up the political process and levels the playing field for all candidates." The real world examples above show a very slanted bias toward one party, the Democrats. So who is getting more choice? Maybe between different democrats.
In fact, some argue that RCV may hurt the ability of diverse candidates to raise enough money to become a viable choice and to appeal to the larger electorate. 1 RCV tends to favor those who are more well known and have a better choice of winning.
RCV Supporters want you to believe that you will get a winner who appeals to more of the voters because that candidate needs to work harder to appeal to everyone. If a candidate says yes to everything you want to hear, you know he/she is lying. What we sacrifice with RCV is the intellectual, moral and fiscal honesty of the times that an effective election demands. Common sense would tell you that if a candidate were to win by a majority in one round, that would be the person most favored candidate and there was no need to rank candidates further. The fact is, very few if any candidates winning under RCV ever win by the majority of the ballots cast for a variety of reasons. See Mpls 2017 Mayoral Election.
Proponents of RCV also believe Ranked Choice Voting will reduce the influence of special interest lobbies. What is interesting is looking at the special interests pushing the RCV scheme themselves.
An Idaho opinion on RCV is that:
“You only have to vote for the candidates you like, you are not required to vote for those you know nothing about, nor are you forced to vote for those you don’t like. So if there are four candidates most people will vote for their top choice and at least one other candidate as a No. 2 choice. But you have the option of only voting for one or rank all four if you so choose.” (40)
What they don’t tell you is that if you do not make choices in ALL rounds counted, your ballot will eventually be tossed, thrown out, not counted, exhausted. This is more likely to happen than all the false niceties RCV proponents want you to believe will actually be achieved by implementing RCV. If your vote does not count there is no benefit.
The example above, the first year of RCV in Minneapolis was one of the lowest turnouts since the early 1900's when women were first allowed to cast a ballot. 2013, where there were 35 candidates for mayor, the voter participation was still less than 1993-2005 under traditional voting methods.
In fact, as you can see by the Minneapolis voting table of 1993-2013, the best turnout was in 1993 under traditional voting and did not increase when RCV was implemented. In addition, the most diverse Wards 5 & 6 never improved voting for the truly perceived marginalized voter. IN fact, according to MinnPost article 09/18/2013, for 2013 Minneapolis anticipated a 75% voter turnout and in reality only saw half that in the end - 33%. The costs of the additional staffing was significant to the tune of $385,000 extra costs wasted. (See below)
All proponents of RCV want you to believe that it will save taxpayer dollars. It hasn't happened in Minneapolis after 3 rounds of RCV. Up front costs of RCV Ballot machines, additional city staff, and election judges in addition to the vast training time and dollars it will take to run an election are just a few considerations that have not been documented. What about the extra costs with lengthened round counting and possible contested ballots? Cost studies have not been done by City Governments and dollar figures saved have been a stab in the dark at best. Make them prove it. We are already facing higher taxes due to our pandemic and lack of city/state revenues. Is this a smart move right now?
The difficulty lies with the fact that a lot of municipal elections take place in off years, years there are no national elections. There is typically lower turnout with costs in off year elections but why haven't RCV supporters entertained changing our charters to have municipal in even years to improve turn out and lower cost first before changing the whole election system? Duluth, MN not only voted down RCV in 2015 but in 2019 the Duluth News Tribune endorsed moving local elections to even-numbered years.
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